tv James Patterson on Independent Bookselling CSPAN June 15, 2014 1:32am-2:10am EDT
there saving our country's literature. the work they do to support schools and the rest of their communities leaves a lasting love of reading in children and adults. i believe their work is vital to our future as a country. what are we if we don't have our own literature? i couldn't be happier to humbly support booksellers and their mission. maybe that's because it's my mission as well so on behalf of booksellers everywhere want to thank you for that. [applause] i thought what i would do is introduce the other members of the panel up here and we have karen west. this is karen and karen is director of events. [laughter] >> you never know. >> that's the jet lag.
karen west is the director of events and conferences for book passage the san francisco bay area's library and independent bookstore. one of the liveliest. i have friends out there as well. one of the liveliest independent bookstores in san francisco. they carry over 1000 events per year in three major writing conferences. karen has been in the book business for over 20 years with an emphasis on community relations and diverse programming. coming from a museum and theater back and karen is a current member of the shakespeare company and she lives in laguna tossed california a small community on the way to point reyes which is a gorgeous place with her husband and son for the cultivate a massive hillside garden. david shellenberger is co-founder and co-owner of little shop of stories of children's bookstore located in
decatur georgia. this year davis serving as a juror for the national book award and the young people's literature division so any authors out there this is the guy you need to talk to. besides becoming a great oak store for kids and their families little shop is in the development of the decatur book festival and marvelous festival the nations largest independent book festival. well i am with the miami book fair, one of the nations largest. [laughter] and on the same page and annual communitywide family reading initiative. thank you both for being here. the way are we going to handle this is we are going to have a little bit of a discussion. i'm going to speak to jim for a little while and the two booksellers will talk about what they might've done with some of the money that they got. then we are going to open it to the audience for questions and some of you who may have gotten
some grants might want to tell us we have done and then we have a big announcement at the end as well because the next round of grants will be given and announced this afternoon. i am told that if you are here and you have gotten your announcement you can actually pick up your check this afternoon. >> the check will bounce. [laughter] one other thing if you're watching on c-span when the show was over i wanted to go out to an independent bookstore and buy some books. [applause] >> let me ask you a question. how did you come up with this? >> well you know it all goes back to bringing up a kid in our son 16 now and developing him as a reader and just getting more and more interested in getting more people reading and getting
more involved in studying the business more and paying attention to why people would do and don't read. it just seemed to me that it's so important that we have bookstores in this country where people can go and talk about books and find out about looks and then obviously we are in a period where that is being threatened and we are not thinking about that area as much as we should. we are not doing as much as we should to help make sure american literature prospers and actually survives. >> what the ucsb independent driving this whole dynamic? >> one of the great things about independence is there is no independent role. they are independence back so they all have a different role for which i think is wonderful
and that depends on who they are. it is their store and they get to make their own decisions which is terrific and where the story is. it's going to vary. obviously in miami is a lot different than it is in denver and a lot different than it is in my not so that's the wonderful thing about it. it's all local and the local problems and local solutions. with that continued thing of the continuity that's all across this country we just need to support books and reading. >> and i notice one of the requirements is the bookstore has a children's section so talk a little bit about the role the children's booksellers play. >> is my passion and why i started writing and having jack grow up before our eyes. my wife sue is here i just
became how hard it is to get kids interested in books and how important. i think there are two levels for me anyway. one is for kids who are going to be good readers gets to make them much better readers and get them to think deeper and also to spread the breadth of what they are reading because a lot of kids don't read as widely as they should and i think it's worse now than it has ever been in terms of not obviously in every household but in general kids aren't reading enough. also in this country there is so much black and white inking as opposed to great thinking. things are a lot more complicated if you really get into them. one of the ways began to subjects and find out enough about them you realize how complicated they are is reading. most of the television doesn't have that kind of depth. the second reason why i am so committed to children getting
children reading has to do with at-risk kids and kids in my own area i would say its third grade to eighth grade. if we don't get them at that point and make them competent readers how are they going to get through high school? how are they going to become you no good parents themselves? what is going to happen to them after they get out of high school if they don't read while? basic weight i don't want to say they are doomed but it really makes it hard and it really limits their choices. that is the key thing and that's an area where the country and where it even independents can do a better job to get at those kids. that's a hard one but it's so important for this country. >> i think a lot of us have talked about developing the next generation of readers and that is when i think some of what you are doing and what you are trying to do -- you have focused
on it in a way that allows. >> and that's my thing. we will say we are going to talk and listen or whatever and we will say my job is done we went to a lecture. no. we went to a lecture and we were stimulated and hopefully there will be some stimulation today i don't know. then we went and did something. my daughter thinks -- things that we can do better and things in your story that you can do better now. that's a combination of imagination and part of it is always you have an idea and then you have to sit back and go is that a good idea of? is that the best idea and that is what i do constantly. whatever it is whether the probe him i'm going to try to do this thing with the indies and they tried a couple of different things. we had a program a couple of years ago which wasn't as good as this in terms of making it easy for people to get involved
and to get some help. one of my jokes about this is it isn't easy being green. you'd be surprised how hard it is to give money away. >> that leads me to the next question which is what has surprised you about some other request that you have gotten? >> the thing that surprises me is once again it is somewhat difficult. we couldn't have made this simple or. all bookstores have to do is sort of ride a half a page or a page on what you want to do? it's important to us that it's really a bookstore is supposed to a hair salon where they have 10 books. that doesn't count in my pet thing is that there is a children's section or a least children's books which i think is really important obviously that cuts out some very good bookstores but that's the one little idiosyncratic rule that we have.
>> talk about in the first round of grants that you gave. can you give us some of the figures of? >> well this round is 43 stores. there are 98 now so there were 55 and the first and we are up to 535,000 now. we will have another grouping sometime in the fall. i am sure we will get to 1 million this year. if there is more need we will go into next year and we will do other things. we will do another million. [applause] part of it has to do with trying to be efficient and smart and good. i know bill gates is currently
having second thoughts about what he is doing with this money and i don't know if this centers around this but it's like anything else. i think people would be very comfortable with more taxes if they were really assured that the taxes were being used wisely for education and health care and things that we all think are very important. similarly i just want to make sure that what we are doing is really really helping and making stores better stories. see let's listen to what some of the booksellers appear have done why don't we start over here and what it you tell us how you felt when you received it rant and what you used the money for. >> when we received the grant. >> you notice this is my microphone. >> you can interject any point. first of all it was so important
that it was crisp and clear and clean. you rolled it out. we got to respond in a simple format and put forth their plate in a direct manner. we were ecstatic and there are photos to show you. the whole store went nuts over but what when you said when you offered out was he said we couldn't imagine a world of adults coming out of young people who read. we didn't want to live with those people and book passage felt american is he very strongly about this. what was happening in the san francisco bay bay area and you may not know this that we have been ranked number one most expensive place to live. we beat out manhattan. we are the most expensive place. when that happens things happen in the community. i for 13 helps fund and when i compare his public education to my education we got to go on field trips to museums libraries bookstores. he doesn't get to go on field
trips. they simply don't have the money in the tax base. what we were looking at was children couldn't get to us and because it was such an expensive place to live with parents needed to work in the community. it was simply a matter of time and resources. we were starting to see it dwindling amount of families and children becoming in because the work was. it was really important that we get on the road and get to them. what we were doing and i can paint this jury picture for you. we were renting the space of ugly scraped up faults and to get a u-haul took three staff members to drive down to this industrial area of town so now you have three folks stores coordinating their schedules. we had to go down to this area and drive another car drop the person off. that did come back to the store. it was a really verdant process. we did this over and over again paying astronomical rental fees to try to get to schools and put
on book fairs and bring the reading to the children. so what happened when we applied for the grant? we asked for two things that were monumental for us. we wanted to get on the road with her own fan with a logo to roll up to the front of the school and their communities open the door and start her day. sounds like a small thing but transportation is huge. immediately with the purchase of the van we were able to add five more schools to our book fair roster and get on the road and get out to you guys. the second part of the grant we asked for and this is going to maybe make you laugh is we had a dilapidated old sound system they came donated from 1970s band in the bay area. it had cords all over the place. the sound would short out all the time. it was a real monster. for the in-store events when we brought in children's authors it
looked like something out of the 2001 space odyssey and monolith. it's gorgeous. all the children can fit around it. no courts to trip over and it made a huge difference in the way we can present in the store. fit children and more safely and these two things and i won't take up more time but you have impact of these in the book programming. >> boat passes application was nine pages. [laughter] >> semple and direct. see my question is where the grateful dead going to play? >> i know, seriously. dave how about you? >> similarly to karen we had serious transportation issues. we have been using our own personal vehicles and they have
sustained substantial issues with transmissions and suspensions and we knew we really have to get a fan or some kind of vehicle. when we started budgeting for it a few years ago we thought let's do something that would be cool. let's try to get a little school bus so we cannot only transport books that turn it into some kind of the book will build to bring authors to the schools to do story times at the schools. so we figured in three years we would have enough honey set aside in order to do it and extend the generosity of james patterson. we have purchased a short school bus a 14 passenger school bus and it's right down the process of being painted and ousted the seats are being ripped out of it and over the summer we will be doing work on the interior installing the awning on the exterior so we can have shaded storytimes.
we are just super excited about it. the morning that the grants were announced james patterson was on npr and specifically mentioned our store and that we were buying a bookmobile and literally within 10 minutes i had three or four phonecalls from customers and we got calls throughout the entire day. our customers are listeners. and so it's just fantastic. we can't have everything ready to rollout for the book festival over labor day weekend. it will be a visible reminder to the community that we are out there and we are there to support them and to thank them for all their support for us. [applause] >> i think that deserves a big round of applause. we too received a grant and what we have done in our stores on
the kids side is we make a very big effort like so many of you to get the authors into the schools beyond just an author event at the store. oftentimes there'll be one event at our store but an author will spend two or three days going to schools throughout the county. one of the things we found is and many of these title i schools are the schools that really weren't able -- were the kids themselves weren't able to afford the author's books we used our money to be able to purchase books to leave them for kids who weren't able to afford to buy the author's books who work coming. in a number of instances we also left the school with a library of books. we are planning to continue that into the fall and it's made a world of difference. we have gotten letters from the kids, a letter from the schools
thanking us in thanking mr. patterson. it's made a world of difference and being able to make these kids feel empowered so that after they hear an author. >> they too made get a book and go home at that luck. that has been huge for us, really really cute so i personally want to thank you for allowing us to pursue that as well. i wanted now to open it up to some of you have there if any want to talk about your experiences in regard to some of the money that you may have gotten. do we have anyone in their audience who has received a grant? do we have a mic? >> i will talk loud enough. we use money to purchase books so we could start to do more events in the schools then it gave us the inventory to bring
so the kids had a good choice. thank you very much mr. patterson. i wanted to make a comment to matt. beyond money the publicity -- publicity that we got was amazing because we haven't had the money to spend on it for a year and a half. not only did it go to bangor daily news which is mentioned in your flyer but it went to the sun journal and every newspaper in the state. the tv stations came and filled filled -- found that our store. now there is more publicity so thank you. [applause] >> one of the nicest and clears things i got from one of the booksellers that got help in the first wave is saying that this really helps our store and it's really great for morale and we
love the idea that people are paying attention to us. but he said fram the best thing was shot shining a light on the situation and that is people begin to think about what's going on with independent stores and the press coverage. it's very difficult. do we have any press here today? excellent. that is hard. that's a very hard thing. i don't know why it books and literature have become unimportant to a lot of newspapers and magazines but that seems to have happened and it's not the ideal situation. i think it's a little bit of a problem. >> i think there are two major companies that are putting it back on the news though. [laughter] >> well with ap mitch? >> we donate to go there right now. that's for a different panel. see let me tell you though there'll be a lot more companies
involved. that's the real danger there. it's not going to be one company. >> anybody else? yes, over here. >> i'm with the northern california booksellers and we are unique with grants. mr. patterson was kind enough to plug that and i wanted to report it since it was something a little different. we have got a think the largest amount from the grants. california bookstore and some of you may have heard about it taking idea that the record store people had started and
ended up on may 3 have been 93 bookstores involved. 93 bookstores and 93 -- [inaudible] and in addition to selling some unique items one of which was the book that we published our children's joke book for kids where various illustrators submitted jokes and venture illustrations. you did support the children side of this as well. the thing i want to say is we use the grant to help publicize the event. we got oak cellars to agree literally to the month of april to take their bookmarks for instance and we will give you as many bookmarks as you want. hand these out and everyone it comes in the store can have one and we printed 80,000 book marks
and 100,000 came from the grant. we use the grant to publicize and market the event. the bottom line was most of the stores reported that the sales in the store that day compared to saturday the year before were up anywhere from 20% to three or 400%. we created that day we chose customers and independent bookstores to buy books in the bookstore and on that day the bookstores reported collectively increase sales of $150,000. >> is for information was disseminated and best practices and california bookstore day and george of bookstore day colorado
bookstore day. clearly it's a good idea. you have the power of 90 bookstores. in terms of getting the message out there and in terms of getting people excited. in may they have the world book day and they give a voucher to every kid in the country. every kid in the country can essentially go in and get a book for a dollar. they are so powerful and that's one of the reasons i mars excited about the program and i'm glad that it's a little bit better because we helped. but that notion of taking back to your state or area or orange county bookstore day whatever it's a really neat thing and it does draw attention to your stores and all the stores in the area. i encouraged people to take out forward. >> the northern key booksellers
has been a trailblazer in so many ways. in my time on the board we have adopted through the aba that we are testing in northern california and the aba is probably right now with the wheels turning thinking of some ideas in some way of making this national. am i right about that? >> i think most people here, some of you know -- he was very clear. this was a money that was otherwise going to go to the bookstore. he gave organizational sessions in san antonio. [inaudible] we do appreciate that.
>> at the risk of embarrassment i want to say a few editorial things up here. you often hear so where is this money coming from? it's all coming from him personally as where it's coming from. also i happen to know just because we are at the miami book fair together and i had the honor of being able to interview him on stage. every time i would try to work in toward his books he would work it away from his books to this commitment that he has to having children read. >> i would love to talk about my books right now. [laughter] >> i was going to say the people sitting in the front row were going -- [laughter] >> they are doing the same thing right now. >> but i just want to say it's one of the most genuine things that i have seen in my 30 some odd years as a bookseller and something that i think you know has made a difference already
and will continue to make a difference in the future. we hope that other authors jump on this bandwagon as well in order to even expand it further. but i on behalf of all of us here want to thank you for all of this remarkable good work that you have done. but before we and what i would like to do is ask the two booksellers, for those who have not applied yet because we know only half of it's been given away maybe you can give a couple of to what you did on your application. >> it's so simple. you can do the application. it's not hard. it's not hard. >> you apparently don't have to send nine pages so don't do that >> do we have any more questions? >> we are almost done with the show so remember when it's over into the independent look stores